During the first five months of this year, the Gallup organization conducted a huge survey of Americans about health and well-being:
”[A] random sample of 484,278 adults, aged 18 and older, including a random sample of 150,984 adults aged 65 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.”
What Gallup discovered is that people with self-reported better health habits were more likely to rate their health as very good or excellent than people who practice less healthy habits.
”But, exercising frequently, not being obese, and visiting a dentist are the most related to reporting great health.”
I want to say, duh! but it is useful to validate common sense now and then.
Here is a graph showing self-reported health rankings by age group. (Larger images at the Gallup page.)
Two other age graphs show pretty much what you would expect in regard to exercise and eating healthy meals:
Q: Did you eat healthy (sic) all day yesterday?
Q: In the last seven days, how many days did you exercise for 30 or more minutes? Answers reflect those who responded with three or more days.
Like the first graph above, this one shows what you would expect as people age and for a variety of reasons cannot exercise as frequently (or at all) as in the past.
The healthy eating graph just confirms for me that the older we get, the smarter we grow about healthy living and also that most of us old folks will do everything possible to avoid becoming debilitated in our late years.
One of the great unsung things the federal government does for American citizens (which would undoubtedly be defunded by Republicans if they have their way) is to collect and distribute information. One agency that does a lot of good public education work is the National Institutes of Health.
Their elder website is NIHSeniorHealth is stuffed with articles, videos, FAQs, quizzes and other resources specifically related to elders’ health, disease, conditions, prevention and treatment. Also, the website is designed with the workings of elder brains in mind, optimized for how our memory, text retention, vision and coordination operate.
The section on Falls and Older Adults is a good example of the depth of the website. It is as thorough as I could want with information from risks and causes to fall-proofing your home to the related topics of osteoporosis and balance problems.
Other links lead to videos, quizzes and other, outside sources of information such as Medline and the National Institute on Aging which has an even larger database of health and medical information for us old folks.
Usually at this time of year, I write my annual post on elders and falls. On the “teach a man (or woman) to fish” theory, here instead this year is one of the top two or three online resources specifically for elders whose health needs and requirements are often quite different from mid-life people. You should bookmark it.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dani Ferguson Phillips: The “Big C”